The operator’s licence held by Christopher Jeffrey Matthews trading as Red Bus Days will be revoked with effect from 31 January 2020.
North East Traffic Commissioner, Tim Blackmore, issued a formal warning to Mr Matthews in his role as transport manager and concluded that his repute had been tarnished. He held back on a finding that repute was lost by the narrowest of margins and only with the agreement by Mr Matthews to undertake a two-day CPC Refresher course by 31 December 2019.
The decision follows a public inquiry in Leeds on 24 October 2019 before the Traffic Commissioner for the North East of England.
The licence was called to public inquiry due to the operator’s failure to produce evidence of financial standing, which is a mandatory requirement, and use of an unauthorised operating centre.
Mr Matthews did not provide evidence of financial standing at the public inquiry. He had been given a period of grace by the Traffic Commissioner to rectify this position but failed to do so by the maximum period allowed (six months).
Further issues were also identified during the hearing:
- A vehicle was used for hire and reward without an MOT. It was out of date by six weeks;
- Mr Matthews was conducting regular vehicle safety inspections himself without the necessary qualifications and facilities to do so. He had stated to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner that vehicles would be inspected by a third party provider;
- Brake tests were not conducted at every vehicle safety inspection, in line with guidance;
- Out of eight MOT tests in 2018/19, five vehicles failed their test – three for emergency doors and two for brakes; and
- Prohibitions issued to vehicles for defects which should have been reported by drivers (lights and doors) indicated the defect reporting system was inadequate.
Mr Blackmore said that while he had some concerns over the maintenance arrangements in place he was prepared to allow time for a fresh licence application before the revocation takes effect.
Until the revocation takes effect, the licence held by Mr Matthews will be reduced to one vehicle, from two.
An independent audit of the operator’s systems for maintenance and drivers’ hours and the effectiveness with which those systems are implemented is also to be carried out by a trade association or certified independent body, within four months of any new licence being issued.